Civil War Pipe
This pipe once belonged to a soldier who had fought in the Civil War. It's subject is a bit removed from the main theme of this site, but it is such a beautiful item, I decided to include it anyway.
The former owner's name was Francis Pond. He was a member of the First Illinois Light Artillery, Company B. This unit was organized and commanded by Captain Ezra Taylor, and was generally known as "Taylor's Battery, Company B", as can be seen in the front view of the pipe. Most of the members were from the Chicago area, as was Mr. Pond.
Taylor's Battery distinguished itself in a number of battles. The names of a number of these are carved into the pipe. They include:
A complete list of this unit's engagements appears at the Civil War Archive site.
Private Pond received a medical discharge on October 31, 1862. He was judged to be unable to continue service because of a variety of conditions, including "inflammation of the spleen", and deafness (probably not an uncommon malady for the artilleryman). He died on January 2, 1915 at the age of 78. The pipe was acquired by my great uncle, a resident of Chicago, in the mid-1940's.
The pipe, itself, was carved from briar wood, and is quite large, measuring about 4 inches from front to back, just under 3 inches wide, and about 3 inches deep. The initials "F.P." appear where the stem (now missing) was inserted. The only recorded member of this unit with those initials was Mr. Pond.
The pipe probably dates to sometime after the end of the war. It is not known whether Mr. Pond carved it himself, or it was produced as a souvenir, possibly in connection with a reunion event.